Here sharing a few of our favourite at home recipes, tips and ideas to keep the kids and you entertained at home.
TOBY CARVERY – TOBY TIPS
A FEW WORDS ON CARVING
After cooking, make sure you let your joint or poultry stand for at least 20 minutes, so the meat ‘relaxes’ and the juices flow through the joint. You’d be surprised how many people attack their roast as soon as it comes out of the oven, and then wonder why it’s dry and chewy.
If you’re thinking of using an electric knife, here’s my advice:
Please don’t. Ideally, you need a long, sharp knife. A serrated blade works quite well if you’d rather not be sharpening all the time.
Use the entire length of the knife to carve, cutting against the grain to slice up the meat fibres. If you use a fork to hold the meat in place, press lightly. If you stick the fork hard into the joint, everything will collapse and you’ll squeeze those sumptuous juices out. Ideally, you should only use a fork to move the sliced meat.
HOW TO MASTER THE MIRACLE OF ROASTIES
Great roasties don’t happen by accident. Parboil the potatoes and get the oven on to heat up your oil. You want it smoking hot.
Once the spuds are parboiled, drain well then give them a shake. Keep the lid on and bash them about. (If you’ve overcooked them, I’d change the menu to mash.) You want broken up edges – what we call ‘ruffled’ – these are the bits that will crisp up in the oven and keep the inside deliciously soft.
Put the spuds in the tray, carefully baste them in the hot oil – this seals them and stops them sticking. Spread the potatoes out; don’t overcrowd them or put them on top of one another.
Slide them into the oven for 45 minutes or so, turning them over once halfway through. Sprinkle your golden, ruffled roasties with salt. Serve and accept compliments.
ARISE, SIR YORKSHIRE
A proper Yorkshire pudding is the aristocrat of roast trimmings. The secret to cooking these towering beauties? Air – and patience.
When you’ve mixed your batter, beat it with a whisk as hard as you can. Now put it in the fridge to combine for half an hour, and give your arm a rest. Take out your batter and whisk it all over again. Transfer to a jug for easier pouring.
Get the oil piping hot, add the batter to your trays then pop them in a pre-heated oven at 240C/Gas Mark 8 for 20 minutes. Be sure to close the oven door slowly so you don’t force all the hot air out. Oh, and don’t open the door to check on progress – the cold air will make your puds sag.
Keep an eye on your creations through the glass door of the oven. When they rise and look golden-brown and crisp on top, they’re done.
LUSCIOUS ROAST PORK WITH CRACKING CRACKLING
If crackling doesn’t crackle, what’s the point? Here’s how to make sure it does.
Make sure the joint is as dry as possible. Score the skin lightly in thin strips, then rub a tablespoon of salt over the pork. You don’t need any oil, as the meat will baste itself.
Roast the pork skin-side up in a preheated oven at 240C/Gas 9 for about 20 minutes, then turn it down to about 190C/Gas 5. Work on a cooking time of 35 minutes per pound. When cooked, the juices will run clear when you stick a fork in the joint.
Once the pork is cooked, remove the crackling, scraping off all of the fat. While the joint rests for half an hour, cook the crackling in a pan sprinkled with salt – but with no extra oil. In no time, you’ll be crunching your way through delicious crackling and enjoying the intense flavour of perfectly moist roast pork.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF GRAVY
The kitchen is reaching fever pitch and now you need to make gravy… but there’s no need to panic. If you do it right, you’ll earn a rich, flavour-packed reward; just the thing to crown your glorious roast creation.
The tastiest gravy is made using the juices from the roasting pan. Remember, colour is flavour, so don’t be shy about scraping in those dark burned-in bits. You can reduce fat by pouring the meat juices over ice cubes in a sieve. The fat will stick to the ice.
Add stock or water to give your gravy more body. Have a look in the fridge and add leftover apple sauce, horseradish, or mint for more flavour. Use your imagination. You could also try roasted onions or vegetable juice.
If you want to use granules, fine. But to avoid lumps, make a paste using water and slowly pour in more water – you can always add more, but you can’t take it back!
DON’T CRUMBLE UNDER PRESSURE
There’s simply nothing like a hearty crumble bursting with sweet fruit to round off your roast. Peel, core and cut apples up into little chunks. A big squeeze of lemon juice will add flavour and stop your apples turning brown. Put the fruit in a large pie dish.
Get your crumble mixture together, whether you’ve bought it or made it yourself. Carefully sprinkle it evenly over the fruit using a spoon. Don’t press down on the mixture or you’ll end up with a big biscuit. If any apple is sticking through, leave it to caramelise. Sprinkle Demerara sugar over the top.
Bake for 45 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 200C/Gas 6, or until the fruit is cooked and the top of the crumble is crunchy.
There’s plenty of other lovely stuff you can put in a crumble – rolled oats, nuts or seeds, dried apricots for a gooey texture, or even alcohol for an indulgent treat. It’s these little touches that will earn your crumble a special mention from guests.